I didn't go into the pregnancy thinking about a c-section. In fact, that particular birth scared the bajeezus outta me and left me with shivers every time I thought of the possibility. Actually, if I'm being honest, it was truly my worst nightmare of a birth scenario. I had never been cut open before for anything. Okay, wisdom teeth, but that hardly counts. Nothing major. I had experienced two previous births, both of which I thought at the time were pretty awesome. I did not have a doula at those births, as I didn't know about them, but knew I needed one for the third because of their woman-to-woman power and calming effect on the birth partner. Oh, and the hand holding I knew I needed since I had some complications with second immediate post-birth.
My doc, a family doc specializing in obstetrics and who knew Jami as well, told me that we had to think of ALL of our options for a birth at this point. Enter, stage left: the Cesarean birth. Now it was a possibility. My biggest fear and Jami knew that. She went into action, which meant she went off of my cues and simply listened. She never threw information or her own opinion into the fray, but got me whatever information I asked for almost immediately. She knew I was scared and was just there. I went through all the natural and homeopathic rituals that I could think of and find within the time limits that I had to work with. We even measured my pelvis to see if I could have a vaginal breech birth.
When it was medically allowed, we (me, hubs, and even Jami) went to hospital to see if the doc could turn the baby by physically pushing and pulling his rump and head on the outside of my belly. This procedure wasn't terrible, but it was not fun and Jami provided so much calm to the room. She let me know what to expect. She was able to ask questions that we had talked about but I forgot to ask. When it was time for the actual pushing and pulling of the babe, she was right there, by my side, helping to keep me calm, rubbing my hair, and reminding me to breathe. I had elected to do the ECV without an epidural so her help was critical in keeping calm. She was all the pain relief I needed. Knowing she was looking out for me, and Adam at the same time, allowed me to focus on breathing and relaxing.
But all was for not. Isaac REALLY liked where he was at in my belly. Our choice was now one of two things. Attempt the vaginal breech birth or elect to have a c-section. The readings from my pelvis scan were JUST big enough. That wasn't warm and fuzzy enough for me, so I put my fears and hang-ups aside and elected to schedule the c-section. We had a date. Now the waiting began. If I didn't go into spontaneous labor by a certain date, I would arrive early that planned morning and we'd have Isaac. Jami, only after being asked, offered her own personal opinion, which I cherish very much. I was happy to hear it and was beyond reassured by her words, hugs, and genuine care not only for me, but for Adam and Isaac....who wasn't even here yet!
Exactly one week later it was time! Isaac was telling us he wanted out. We called Jami and amazingly enough, I wasn't scared. My doc was the doc-on-call, my hubs was there, and Jami was there. She even was allowed back into the OR during my anesthesia injection. That's a biggie and I suggest you ask if your doula can go back with you for that part. The OR is cold, sterile, and incredibly clinical. It has to be, I understand that, but it doesn't make it any easier on the psyche. Jami made it easier. She kept me laughing. She kept me talking. She kept me up-to-date with what was going on when all I saw was running around by the OR birthing team. She was my clutch. And Adam's - remember, he's queasy! She kept him right where he needed to be. She kept us both laughing, talking, reminiscing, and reminding us of the bigger picture of why we were there. A healthy, beautiful baby boy. She even gave us a surprise since our first two were surprises, but we found out Isaac was going to be a boy. Blonde or Brunette? We already had one of each, so it was a toss up.
She took pictures. She recorded and wrote down memories. She was our partner in crime. She stayed with me in the recovery ICU until I stopped bleeding and probably beyond. It was super long, I know that. Again, reassuring me because the postpartum hormone rush had started. The calm she gifted me with by her mere presence will always be remembered and I'll always be grateful.
My birth situation, the planned c-section that I had nightmares about, turned out to be my most empowered birth experience and I can unequivocally say it was because of Jami and my doc and how they worked in tandem. I have had the home-birth-at-the-hospital type of birth and it left me with nothing but soreness, questions, and holes in my memory from the entire night. There was really no feeling of empowerment even though I had that "ideal & natural" birth. It took me to have the completely medicalized birth of my third baby to feel empowered. All because I had a doula and didn't give her up when we knew we needed the c-section. She was as critical to my birth as ever and if I had to do it all over again, I'd only call her sooner than I already did!